San Francisco judge decides in favor of Sony in ‘Premium Rush’ copyright case

| Apr 4, 2013 | Copyright Law

We assume not many Sacramento readers rushed out to theaters last summer to see “Premium Rush.” The thriller, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as bicycle messenger, was not a big hit. It only grossed $20 million domestically.

We wanted to write about it, however, because it was the subject of an interest copyright infringement lawsuit that came to a conclusion on Tuesday.

Sony Pictures, which released “Premium Rush,” had been sued by author Joe Quirk, who had claimed that “Premium Rush” was based on his novel “The Ultimate Rush.”

Quick had sold the film rights to “The Ultimate Rush” to Warner Bros., which wrote two separate screenplays but never actually made a movie. Quick felt that “Premium Rush” was so close to “The Ultimate Rush” that someone at Sony must have either read his book or seen one of the two Warner Bros. screenplays.

On Tuesday, however, a federal judge in San Francisco found that “Premium Rush” was not “substantially similar” to “The Ultimate Rush,” as it would need to be were the copyright infringement claim to succeed, and so it was not necessary to explore the issue of why the two works were so similar to one another.

Legal commentators have said the decision will likely make it harder for authors to sue movie studios in the event that there is a film they believe infringes on their work.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “Sony Pictures Wins ‘Premium Rush’ Theft Lawsuit (Exclusive)” Eriq Gardner, April 3, 2013

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